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Coach Sharon Youngblood works as an athletic coach and recruiter for Florida State University. Athletic competitions and the recruitment of athletes require Sharon to do a great deal of traveling. The university reimburses Sharon for her travel expenses. Sharon joined a frequent-flyer program and has been receiving credit for her business travels as an athletic coach. Solely because of the mileage accumulated from her business travels, Sharon will soon be eligible for a free trip anywhere in the continental United States. She very much wants to travel to Seattle, Washington, over her Christmas vacation to visit her parents. Sharon is considering using her free ticket for this personal trip but is not sure whether it would be ethical to do so.


    There is no question. Different companies have different policies abut the use of frequent flier miles acquired on business trips. Most of them allow it for personal travel. (As in the movie "Up in the Air")

    There is also currently no income tax on the use of frequent flier business miles for personal travel.

    Current tax policy and company policy should be followed. I do not see this as an ethical question. When I acquired miles on over 100 business trips, I considered it as a reward for undergoing the extra stress and incovenenience of the trips and the preapration for them. My company at that time considered requiring the mileage to be creidited to the company travel account, but eventually decided against it.


    I agree with DrWLS. However, some companies consider the free miles their property, as they paid for the travel. So ethically, it is a matter of your employer: You agree when you went to work for them you would abide by all their lawful policies. Ethically, I would abide by my employer's policies first.

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